As described in Getting Started in Zendesk Suite, the Zendesk Suite is a collection of products and capabilities that provide you with the tools you need to create a complete omnichannel support solution. It’s a ticketing system that seamlessly integrates all of the communication channels you use to interact with your customers.
This article is for admins who need to roll out Zendesk Suite to their support organization and customers. Unlike the Getting Started guide, which is an overview, this article contains the information and tasks you need to set up and launch your Zendesk Suite support solution. It also includes sections that describe how you can then optimize and enhance your support solution.
The order of these launch tasks is important, although many steps are optional, because there are dependencies between them (one should happen before the other). You should follow the sections in order to get the most from this article.
This article includes the following topics:
- Planning your omnichannel support solution
- Defining your organizational structure
- Defining your customer support experience
- Configuring user access security and authentication
- Integrating external apps and services
- Adding your staff members and end users
- Setting up your help center and creating your knowledge base
- Automating support with Answer Bot
- Setting up the web and mobile messaging channels
- Setting up the voice channel
- Defining ticket routing and workflows
- Training your agents
- Testing before going live
- Going live to customers
- Adding social messaging channels
- Monitoring performance with reporting and analytics
- Providing global support
- Boosting agent and team productivity
- Retaining and growing your customer base
Planning your omnichannel support solution
The first step toward launching the omnichannel support solution with Zendesk Suite is to determine the channels of communication that you’ll open up to your customers. You want to provide support to your customers using the channels that they prefer. With Zendesk Suite, you have just about every imaginable option: messaging, telephone conversations, social media messaging, email messages, live chat, via mobile devices, and through many popular Web applications and services.
Determining the channels you need to set up for your customers will help you to also determine how many agents you need, what skills they need, and the training you need to provide them with. You’ll also then be able to define your organizational structure and the workflow you’ll set up for handling incoming support requests. You should also think about how the type of business or organization you’re providing support for will affect how you set up your Zendesk Suite.
Here are some things to consider before you start configuring your support solution.
- To understand what your channel options are, see About Zendesk channels. If you could use some advice about how to best use channels to manage customer satisfaction and your support costs, see Omnichannel support made easy with Zendesk.
- Consider how you want to set up your Zendesk support solution based on who you are providing support to. See the following: Using Support for your Business-to-Business (B2B) business, Using Support for your Business-to-Consumer (B2C) business, or Using Support for your Business-to Employee (B2E) business.
The Agent Workspace is the ticket interface within Zendesk Support that enables agents to work seamlessly across channels. All the support conversations your agents have with customers are captured in this single interface. Working in the Agent Workspace is the first thing your agents will need to know about handling support requests with Zendesk. See About the Zendesk Agent Workspace.
You can of course always add more channels and modify your workflows after you’ve launched and it's often best to take a phased approach. For example, you might start using voice to make outbound phone calls on particularly complex tickets or by implementing proactive live chat on your website so that you have better control of the flow of chats and the need to have live agents available to respond to them.
Defining your organizational structure
After you've determined the channels that you’re going to provide to your customers, the next step is to create an organizational and role structure for your staff members. You do this in Zendesk Support.
There are two staff member roles: agent and admin. Agents solve tickets and admins, who can also solve tickets, have additional access to the admin features of the Suite and are able to set up workflows, for example. What an admin or agent can do in a Zendesk Suite product varies. Also, there are additional roles for each product and in some versions of the Zendesk Suite you can also create custom roles.
Groups are used for organizing your staff members. Organizations are meaningful collections of your end-users, but they can also include staff members. For more information about how each is used, see About organizations and groups.
It’s a good idea to set up your organization structure at the beginning because it will be needed when you define your workflow in upcoming steps in this guide. You’ll add staff members (and end users) later in the setup process.
Defining your customer support experience
Your customers’ experience of the support you provide to them is a collection of contact points that includes your support email addresses, your help center, your social media presence and other channels you set up, and where you’ve embedded your Zendesk (on any website and also in mobile apps).
In Zendesk, a collection of customer contact points is referred to as a brand. Depending on your Zendesk Suite plan, you can have from 5 to 300 different brands. For example, you may provide support for both B2C and B2B customers and want the experience to be different for each.
Another part of the support experience is how your customers submit their support requests when they’re not directly communicating with you live (via live chat and voice, for example). You can customize the type of data that your customers need to provide to you when submitting a support request.
The following tasks show you how to set up your brand and customize your ticket experience. These are done in Support.
|Add support addresses||Intro||Article||Advice|
|Set business schedules||Intro||Article||Advice||Video|
|Create custom ticket fields||Intro||Article||Advice||Video|
|Create multiple ticket forms *||Intro||Article||Advice||Video|
|Customize email notifications||Intro||Article|
* Available in Zendesk Suite Growth plan and above
There’s a bit more to do to complete your customer support experience, but you’ll want to set up other parts of your support solution first. In upcoming sections of this article you’ll find the information you need to complete your customer support experience.
Configuring user access security and authentication
Before you add any users to your Zendesk account, staff or customers, you should also define access security and authentication for both.
All staff members must sign in to any part of Zendesk Suite and you can define your password security level and also what type of authentication will be used. Zendesk user authentication is enabled by default, but you can also choose third-party authentication using Microsoft or Google, or single-sign on using a number of different services.
With customers (referred to as end users in Zendesk), if you require them to sign in, you have the same password and authentication options. In addition, you also have the option of allowing them to sign in using their Twitter and Facebook accounts.
For an overview of your options for end user access, see Configuring end-user access and sign-in.
Access security and authentication are defined in the Admin Center.
Integrating external apps and services
If you also rely on external apps and services to help you manage parts of your business and your customers, you can integrate those into your Zendesk account.
For example, if you also use Salesforce, JIRA, or Slack, you can manage user data and ticket flows across those applications. You can also add apps from the Zendesk Marketplace to integrate with popular services such as SurveyMonkey.
It’s also possible to notify external targets when a ticket is created or updated. External targets can include cloud-based applications and services (such as Twitter) as well as HTTP and email.
You use Support to set up apps and external integrations.
|Add marketplace apps||Intro||Article||Advice||Video|
|Add 3rd-party integrations||Intro||Article|
|Set up notifications to external targets||Intro||Article||Advice|
As with channels, you can always add these external apps and integrations after you’ve launched your Zendesk. If you don’t use external apps and services, you can skip this part of the Suite launch setup.
Adding your staff members and end users
With your organizational structure in place, you can now add agents to your Zendesk account, assign them roles and skills, add them to the groups and organizations you created, and set their access to specific channels and parts of the Zendesk Suite.
You can also add end users to your account if you already have a database of users that you’re already providing support to (for example, you were using some other system to manage users or provide support before you started using Zendesk).
The other method for adding end users to your account is as they come to you for support. For example, via all the channels you provide, your end users contact you for support and a new user account is automatically created. If the end user already has an account in your Zendesk, a new support request will be paired with their existing account. If you haven’t already done so, read Understanding how end user accounts are handled across Zendesk Suite for more information about end user accounts.
The steps you took in Configuring user access security and authentication to define password security and user authentication are in place and apply to the users you add to your Zendesk account.
You use Support and the Admin Center to add users to your account.
Setting up your help center and creating your knowledge base
Earlier in Defining your customer support experience you set up the essential contact points for customers and defined your support experience brand (or brands). To complete your customer support experience, you now need to set up your help center with Zendesk Guide and create your knowledge base.
Your help center is one of your customers’ support contact points. It’s where they can submit support requests, track their support requests, interact with agents via messaging or live chat, and also use the self-service you provide via your knowledge base articles.
Although providing a help center is optional (you could instead embed your Zendesk support experience into a website or a mobile app, for example) you’ll use Zendesk Guide to create your knowledge base content. Having a knowledge base is an essential part of the embedded support experience, of deflecting tickets, and the key to automating support conversations using the Answer Bot and messaging. Your knowledge base is also just as valuable to your agents as it is to your customers.
To complete your customer support experience, you now need to set up your help center with Zendesk Guide and create your knowledge base.
You can leave your help center in setup mode, meaning not available to end users, until you’re ready to launch the other parts of your Zendesk support solution. When you’re ready to go live with your help center, see Going live to customers below.
Configuring Guide user roles, access, and permissions
In Guide you can define roles for agents that are specific to accessing, creating, and managing content. For example, you can make agents Guide admins so that they can create content and manage your help center.
|Set Guide roles for agents||Article||Advice|
|Create user segments||Article||Advice|
|Create management permissions||Article||Advice|
Designing your help center
Guide provides you with a number of help center themes that you can modify to match your company or organization’s branding. You can also go deeper into the underlying help center code to create more complex customizations.
Creating your content structure and adding articles
Your knowledge base consists of articles that are organized into categories and sections. Categories are the top-level organizing containers in your help center. They contain sections that contain your knowledge base articles. For example My Product > Getting Started > Getting Started articles.
Setting up publishing workflows for staff-created content
In addition to allowing agents to create content, you can also control how and when the content that they create is published. Available in the Agent Workspace, the Knowledge Capture app enables agents to easily access and link to articles in your knowledge base. It also allows them to create new articles, which means that agents can create content via the Knowledge Capture and also using the authoring tools in Guide. In either case, you can create workflows to control how that agent content is published.
|Set Knowledge Capture workflows *||Article||Advice||Video|
|Set team publishing workflows **||Article||Advice||Video|
* Available in Zendesk Suite Growth, Professional, Enterprise, and Enterprise Plus plans
** Available in Zendesk Suite Enterprise and Enterprise Plus plans
Creating and managing a user community
Zendesk Gather is used to add the community component of your help center. This allows your end users to create posts to ask questions, provide feedback, and to share best practices with other end users in your community. End users can also add comments to posts and articles. As with staff-created content, you can also control how this content is published. This moderation feature, along with the other spam prevention tools provided by Zendesk, allows you to ensure that only quality content is published to your help center.
Final steps before launching your help center
With your help center design complete and your knowledge base content created and ready for use, you’re ready to activate it to make it available to your customers. There are several tasks however that you may also want to do before going live. You may want to customize the web address (URL domain name) and also set up Google Analytics so that you can track typical website usage and engagement metrics.
Automating support with Answer Bot
One of the many advantages of creating a knowledge base is that you can then use it to provide automated customer support. This is done using the Answer Bot, which can be set up to automatically respond to incoming support requests (via email, for example) with links to articles in your knowledge base that should be able to help the customer solve their support issue on their own. Answer Bot scans the words used in the support request and then chooses the appropriate articles to recommend.
The Answer Bot can also be used in your web forms, your mobile apps, in web and mobile messaging (described in the next section), and other places. For more information, see Understanding everywhere you can use Answer Bot. You'll find all the Answer Bot information and resources you need here.
Setting up the web and mobile messaging channels
Because of the importance of self-service and its positive effect on customer satisfaction, and the convenience and cost savings of automation, you should consider setting up messaging and adding a bot as your first responder to support requests received through the Web Widget or mobile channels. Together these two features help customers to find the answers to their support issues before needing to connect with an agent.
The first step is to enable a messaging channel. This lets you design a default response that greets customers when they launch the Web Widget through your website or help center, or request assistance through your mobile app, requests information about them and their support topic, and suggests articles (if available) that may help them self-solve their issue.
You can choose to add a customizable bot to your web or messaging channel that prompts customers to tell messaging what they need and provides them with options: simple chat responses to answer their questions, links to knowledge base articles that should help them to resolve their issue, and also an option to instead contact a live agent. You can create the bot to your specifications using Flow Builder, a click-to-configure tool for designing bot conversation flows.
Messaging therefore offers two paths for issue resolution: automated messaging conversations and also live agent conversations. Agents also have the option to contact the customer using other channels such as email and voice. All of this happens in the Agent Workspace, which means that agents don’t need to switch into other products in Zendesk Suite and they have all the customer information and context they need to provide them with excellent support.
First you create a messaging channel, then you customize your conversation flows and add a bot that presents the knowledge base articles you created earlier, organize and create support request notification rules for agents, and configure your language and translation settings.
|Turn on messaging||Article|
|Customize and configure the Web Widget for messaging||Article|
|Customize and configure messaging for Android and iOS||Article|
|Enable a bot||Article|
|Create conversation flows in Flow Builder||Article|
|Route messaging tickets and notifications||Article|
|Manage language settings||Article|
* If you were previously using Zendesk Chat to provide live chat support to your customers, you’ll need to migrate from chat to messaging, which follows a different (but similar) configuration process. Additionally, you may have already organized your staff members into the groups you need earlier in the launch tasks described above in Adding your staff members and end users. You’ll also create triggers to your live agent groups, which you’ll do in the next section Defining ticket routing and workflows.
The last step is to go live with messaging in your embedded support experience on a website, your help center, or in mobile apps. Those steps are described in Going live to customers below.
Setting up the voice channel
Agents can initiate a voice channel conversation with customers in the Agent Workspace, via messaging, and also take incoming calls directly when you provide your support phone number (or numbers) to your customers (for example, via a link in your help center or website).
The up front set up of your voice channel with Zendesk Talk involves adding one or more phone numbers that you’ll provide to your customers, setting up your voice greeting, configuring voicemail settings, enabling SMS text messaging, and so on.
Enabling the voice channel, adding telephone numbers, assigning agents
|Prepare your network||Article|
|Understand Talk number availability||Article|
|Give your agents access to Talk||Article|
|Add telephone numbers||Article|
Configuring global voice settings
|Configure general settings||Article|
|Configure interactive voice response (IVR) *||Article|
|Configure individual number settings||Article|
|Set up an overflow number||Article|
|Configure voicemail options||Article|
|Set up a failover number||Article|
|Enable Text for SMS support||Article|
* Available in Zendesk Suite Professional plans and above
The final step is to make your voice channel live to your customers, which is described in Going live to customers below.
Defining ticket routing and workflows
With enough of the building blocks in place, you can now set up your workflows and how incoming and updated tickets will be handled in Support. This is where you’ll start defining your business rules: automating the routing of tickets to specific groups of agents (for example) and creating views of your tickets based on various criteria (by channels, by groups, and so on).
If your Zendesk Suite plan includes skills based routing, this is the first thing you should set up because you’ll use these skills in the business rules you create with triggers and automations, for example. If your plan does not include skills based routing, you can easily assign tickets to agents and groups using other methods.
If you’re not already familiar with the routing and workflow tools in Zendesk, here’s a quick summary:
Triggers are event-based business rules you define that run immediately after tickets are created or updated. For example, a trigger can automatically assign a high priority to tickets received from VIP customers.
Automations are time-based business rules that perform an action in your account based on time elapsed. For example, if a ticket hasn’t been answered in a timely manner, an automation can escalate the priority level and notify a manager.
Views dynamically organize tickets based on specific criteria that you define. For example, you can create a view for unassigned tickets received over 24 hrs ago. You can create views that are shared with all agents and agents can create their own personal views of their tickets.
Macros are a predefined set of actions that agents apply to a ticket with one click. You create macros for support requests that can be answered with a single, standard response.
Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are contracts between you and your customers – a promise to respond to and resolve tickets in a certain amount of time. SLAs enable agents working with tickets to see the time remaining before each ticket is overdue, which makes it easy for them to prioritize.
For an overview of your ticket routing options, see Routing options for incoming tickets.
You set up your workflows and how incoming and updated tickets will be handled in Support.
|Set up triggers to route messaging conversations to your live agent group(s)||Article|
|Creating and managing triggers for Answer Bot||Article|
|Create SLA policies||Intro||Article||Advice||Video|
Training your agents
The Agent Workspace is the ticket interface where your agents manage all support requests for all of the communication channels you set up (email, live chat, voice, messaging, and so on).
Before you launch your support solution, you should train your agents to use the Agent Workspace in Support using these helpful agent guide articles.
Testing before going live
Aside from your customer-facing production instance of your Zendesk account, you also have a test environment instance known as the standard sandbox. You use the sandbox instance to test some of the parts of your Zendesk setup before going live to customers. With the standard sandbox, you can test aspects of your customers’ support experience: your email templates, your branding, and your channels, for example.
The Enterprise and Enterprise Plus plans include a premium sandbox, which allows you to more fully test the production version of your Zendesk account. For example, you can test your workflows, experiment with integrations, and provide training for new agents in an environment that closely mirrors the production environment.
Going live to customers
Going live means activating your help center, making your embedded support experience visible to customers, and directing external support contact points to your Zendesk account (for example, forwarding email messages sent to any existing email address to your new Zendesk support email address).
You’re now ready to make your support solution available and visible to your customers.
Adding social messaging channels
If you also use social media messaging to communicate with your customers, you can set those up as channels when you’re ready to go live. You can add Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, LINE, and WeChat. When customers send messages to these channels, the messages become tickets and agents can respond to messages from these third-party channels. Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram DM can be linked to your Web Widget to continue messaging conversations across platforms, and you can add social media buttons to your emails.
You can also add Viber, Telegram, and Apple Business Chat using Sunshine Conversations, which is part of the Sunshine developer platform that is included in Zendesk Suite.
You can add popular social media channels in the Admin Center.
|Add the Twitter DM channel||Article|
|Add the WhatsApp channel||Article|
|Add the Facebook Messenger channel||Article|
|Add the WeChat channel||Article|
|Add the LINE channel||Article|
|Add Sunshine Conversations channels||Article|
|Link social channels to the Web Widget||Article|
|Add social channel buttons to emails||Article|
Monitoring performance with reporting and analytics
When your Zendesk support solution is live, you can begin tracking the many important customer support metrics that reveal how you’re doing providing support to your customers and also how your staff are handling the ticket volume.
In-depth and customizable reporting and analytics is provided by Zendesk Explore, which is available in the Professional, Enterprise, and Enterprise Plus versions of Zendesk Suite. Explore provides dashboards and reports for Support, Guide, Talk, and messaging. You can also create your own reports and dashboards.
You first need to activate Explore and then give the agents you choose access to use it. For a detailed introduction to Explore, see Getting started with Zendesk Explore.
If you're not using Zendesk Suite Professional or above, you have some reporting tools available in Support. You have three dashboards that give you insight into the activity in your help center (knowledge base, community, and search). See Analyzing knowledge base activity and Analyzing help center search results.
In addition, there is a live activity dashboard for monitoring activity for the voice channel. See Analyzing call activity with the Talk dashboard.
Finally, you can use the many Explore recipes that have been created to help you set up queries and dashboards for many common business scenarios. See Explore recipes reference.
Providing global support
If your customers span the globe, so can the support your provide to them. This means operating in the time zones and languages of your customers and also providing a fully translated language experience for both your customers and your agents and admins.
You can configure your Zendesk to operate in specific locales and languages and you can set your business hours accordingly. You can also set up business rules to ensure that support is managed in a 24/7, follow-the-sun model.
Both the admin and agents interfaces and the customer facing elements of your support solution can be viewed in multiple languages. Also, your custom content (words contained in your business rules, in your help center interface, and in your knowledge base articles) can also be easily translated to other languages.
|Configure your Zendesk to use a follow-the-sun model||Advice|
|Configure Support for your locale and language||Article|
|Set business schedules||Intro||Article||Advice||Video|
|Add multiple languages to Support *||Article|
|Provide multiple language support with dynamic content *||Article|
|Configure your help center to support multiple languages *||Article|
|Localize help center content *||Article|
|Set up automatic translation for messaging conversations||Article|
* Available in Zendesk Suite Growth plan and above
Boosting agent and team productivity
In addition to the workflow and channel management efficiency of the Agent Workspace, you can also enable a number of other features and install a number of Support apps to help improve agent and team productivity. This includes agent collaboration, collaboration with external resources, agent knowledge sharing, and by providing data and insight into the context of a customer's previous interactions with your support team and help center resources.
|Set up agent collaboration using CCs, followers, and @mentions||Article|
|Enable side conversations *||Article|
|Install the Knowledge Capture app||Article|
|Install the Slack app||Article|
|Install the User Data app||Article|
|Install the Time Tracking app||Article|
|Install the Show Related Tickets app||Article|
* Available in the Zendesk Suite Professional plan and above
Retaining and growing your customer base
Ensuring that you have satisfied customers will not only help to retain them, but also to help expand your customer base. There are several aspects to this.
First, you need to ask your customers how you're doing in providing them with support. You do this by enabling CSAT surveys, which are sent to customers after their ticket has been solved. They can also be prompted to provide feedback after concluding messaging and live chat sessions.
Another measure of customer sentiment, and a predictor of how likely they are to recommend your business to other people, is the Net Promoter Score℠ (NPS®) survey, which is available as an add-on.
You can also be proactive by popping up a chat window when customers visit your help center or website and by proactively creating tickets to inform customers of service disruptions or to notify them of subscription renewals (just two examples of the many ways you might use this feature).
Finally, Explore provides you with many essential customer support metrics that help to track and react to customer satisfaction, agent and team performance, and data that may serve as warning signs for customer churn.
|Enable CSAT (customer satisfaction) rating||Article|
|Set up Net Promoter Score℠ (NPS®) surveys **||Article|
|Install the Proactive Tickets app||Article|
|Use Explore to track metrics that improve customer support||Article|
* Available in Enterprise and Enterprise Plus plans
** Available as a paid add-on to the Zendesk Suite Growth plan and above